Suzy Chan

We chat with freelance graphic designer Suzy Chan about her time at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China compared to University of the Arts in London, not caring about style, and the influence the blend of Portuguese culture and Chinese traditional culture has on her design work.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

My name is Suzy Chan, and I graduated in 2019 with a Graphic & Media major from the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London. I have been living in Guangzhou and Macau, China as a freelance graphic designer for the first six months after graduation.

Whats the worst design job you’ve ever had and how does that make you a better designer?

Before studying in London, I studied at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China for two years. I did a lot of "worst design job" in those two years. Because design education in China is based on practicality, in the freshman and sophomore years we were required to cooperate with many local companies to complete commercial projects. It was a painful experience for me.

Because in my opinion at the time, in order to guide us to become ‘successful commercial designers‘, our school neglected the training that allowed us to explore the visual language and think deeply about the social theory.

It was because of this experience that I made the decision to drop out of school and reapply to LCC.

Design work by Suzy Chan The Design Kids interviews Suzy Chan work-2

What are some of the best and worse parts of your job, day-to-day.

After graduating, I got a lot of good opportunities in China and Europe. I also slowly learned to transform from a graduate status into a professional graphic designer.

The best part is that I have met very good teams in many projects, whether it is China or the UK or Europe. But the bad part is that being in the computer for a long time makes my spine more and more fragile .. (I need more exercise).

How does the local culture of where you live affect your design work and getting clients?

Macau was once a Portuguese colony, and this place still retains the cultural integration of China and Portugal. Whether in terms of diet, part-time work, or language. Macau impressed me very much, because I like the place's preservation of traditional Chinese culture and the visual style is very strong. It is also for this reason that my graduation project "casino city" did research on Macau.

Because of this strong visual style, after graduating, I attracted many clients who didn't know my background. I'm happy because I feel that to some extent I integrate my background into projects that I work with clients around the world.

Design work by Suzy Chan The Design Kids interviews Suzy Chan work-4
Design work by Suzy Chan The Design Kids interviews Suzy Chan work-4

The best part is that I have met very good teams in many projects, whether it is China or the UK or Europe

How did you develop your style as a graphic designer and what tips would you have for others?

There was a time when I was still in school when I was very entangled in "self-style". It wasn't until later that I was told by a tutor that "keep experimenting is the best way for finding style", and I didn't care about style. I started to take every opportunity to try things I haven't tried in every project, so I basically don't do same things at twice. I think I need to keep this state until I get older.

What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in?

Like I said, Macau is a place that blends Portuguese culture with Chinese traditional culture. So the design landscape in my city is very special. I like the gravel roads in Macau (they are called Calçada portuguesa) and the beach, as well as the fountains everywhere.

Design work by Suzy Chan The Design Kids interviews Suzy Chan work-6
Design work by Suzy Chan The Design Kids interviews Suzy Chan work-6

Where to find Suzy Chan online.

Instagram: @suzychannn

Website: suzychan.com

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